Language Policy as Public Policy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter presents and discusses the public policy approach to language policy and planning (LPP). The chapter critically examines the idea according to which everyone (including single individuals) can make language policy, and it clarifies the differences between (individual) language practices and (public) language policy. It argues that government (at different levels, from the local to the national, and even supranational) is the central, albeit of course not exclusive, agent in the language policy process. Language policy is therefore presented as a particular form of public policy that can be examined using the policy cycle model, which is the standard analytical framework in public policy studies. The model comprises several stages, namely the emergence of a language issue in society, followed by agenda-setting, policy formulation and adoption, implementation, and finally evaluation. The chapter presents these five stages of the cycle and the relationships between them and clarifies how the various disciplines involved in LPP can contribute to their study. It presents some concepts that are central in the design of language policies, such as programme theory, policy instruments, and indicators. The chapter also discusses the limits of the model. It emphasises the political and pragmatic aspects of LPP, and the need to engage with decision makers’ practical concerns. In this sense, it contributes to restoring the theoretical and epistemological links between LPP research and public policy studies that have gradually weakened after the ‘critical turn’ in LPP.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEpistemological and Theoretical Foundations in Language Policy and Planning
EditorsMichele Gazzola, Federico Gobbo, David Cassels Johnson, Jorge Antonio Leoni de León
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783031223150
ISBN (Print) 978-3-031-22314-3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Editor(s) (ifapplicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023, corrected publication 2023.


  • Language Policy
  • Public Policy
  • Policy Cycle
  • Evaluation
  • Policy formulation and adoption
  • Policy implementation
  • Agenda-setting
  • Language policy and planning
  • Public policy, policy cycle


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